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Peter Masterson, Co-Writer of ‘Best Little Whorehouse,’ Dies at 84

Peter Masterson, director of the movie “A Trip to Bountiful” and co-writer of the musical “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” died Tuesday at his home in Kinderhook, N.Y. He was 84.

Masterson’s son, also named Peter, told the Associated Press that his father died from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Masterson, a native of Houston, had a wide-ranging career as an actor, director, and writer. He and Larry L. King wrote the book for “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” which opened on Broadway in 1978. His wife, Carlin Glynn, starred as Mona Stangley in the play and won a Tony Award. Masterson also directed that production with Tommy Tune and was nominated for two Tonys and a Drama Desk Award.

Survivors include his wife and his daughter, actress Mary Stuart Masterson. The Mastersons starred in the 1975 movie “The Stepford Wives” as the Walter Eberhart character and his 8-year-old daughter, Kim.

Masterson made his feature directorial debut with 1985’s “The Trip to Bountiful,” adapted from the play by his cousin Horton Foote, who wrote the screenplay. Geraldine Page received the best actress Academy Award for her performance in the movie.

Masterson also had a key role in William Friedkin’s 1973 horror movie “The Exorcist” as Dr. Barringer, the clinic director who suggests an exorcism to cure Linda Blair’s Regan MacNeil character of possession by the devil.

Masterson acted in 1967’s best picture winner “In the Heat of the Night” and starred on Broadway during the 1960s in “Marathon ’33,” “The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald,” and “The Great White Hope.” His feature directing credits include “Full Moon in Blue Water,” “Night Game,” “Convicts,” “The Only Thrill,” and “Whiskey School.” He also directed Mary Stuart Masterson in the Showtime TV movie “Lily Dale.”

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